Canada announces mechanically tenderized beef rule

steak-raw_blogCanada’s rules surrounding mechanically tenderized beef may soon be stricter.

The new proposal would amend the country’s Food and Drug Regulation to provide a definition of mechanically tenderized beef, require labeling for all mechanically tenderized beef sold in Canada, and update requirements surrounding the addition of proper cooking instructions, according to the Feb. 15 edition of the Canada Gazette.

Mechanically tenderized beef is beef that has been tenderized using needles or blades. This may inadvertently transfer pathogens that otherwise would be killed by cooking from the outside of the meat to the inside (which may not reach temperatures high enough to kill pathogens, depending on how the meat is cooked).

The changes come after a 2012 E. coli outbreak that sickened 18 people. Following a review and risk assessment, the Canadian government announced in May 2013 a plan for mandatory labeling for mechanically tenderized products. Soon after, federally-registered processors began complying along with many national retailers. However, non-federally registered processors and small grocery stores were not required to comply. This new change will change that and is “intended to bridge this regulatory gap”.

The U.S. also is looking at labeling mechanically tenderized beef products. A comment period on a proposed rule closed in December.

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